The Slovakian Electro/EBM/Industrial project, Gaping Chasm, is already active since 12 years and could release in the early years several demo tapes. The man behind this project is Roman “Ergo” Petro and some elders may know his name from the legendary Slovakian Electro/Industrial magazine Crewzine. This magazine was to that time the best informed resource of the world-wide scene, much earlier than mags like Vertigo, Side-Line (in its printed form), or the US-based Culture Shock came up and gained attention. We know what happened. Only Side-Line is still active as a printed magazine as well as a good informed online resource. So this interview also is a relict of the past and explains several points of the come and fall of the Crewzine magazine as well as the coarse this music project has taken through the years…
Chain D.L.K.: Roman, your official CD debut release, “Fragments of War“, is out now on Aliens Production. You’ve started to produce music under Gaping Chasm much earlier, back in 1994. Please explain to our readers, why it has taken so much time in between to come out with this first CD release…
Gaping Chasm: I started to give my energy and time into the project Gaping Chasm in the end of 1994, to be precise in the beginning of 1995. I had a strong feeling to transfer my thoughts not only on the paper of a magazine but also into the music. It’s true that I was releasing demo after demo, but it’s also true that the quality wasn’t excellent. To be honest I was trying to find myself in this way and I knew there were interesting compositions on every demo – that ´s why I went on. After 4 demo cassettes I paid my attention to my second project Anima Mundi (1997-2000) a little bit more but I was working on Gaping Chasm as well and I released a CD just for my close friends. Because Anima Mundi was more successful I shifted Gaping Chasm back for several years, but it was always my favorite one. I was a little bit disappointed and tired by presenting GCH again and again without any possibility to get a contract. In 2005 my friend Ryby contacted me…
Chain D.L.K.: In between you had created a side-project called Anima Mundi. Please introduce this project and give us a brief insight behind the finding of it. Where do you see the differences between both projects? Does the sudden return of Gaping Chasm mean the end of Anima Mundi?
Gaping Chasm: As I said before, I was working on both projects together but Anima Mundi represents more my deepest feelings and I would say it’s something like a testimony of my soul exported to the music. The music was more ambient and darker as most electronic music that was created in that time. I have to say that it was very easy for me to create the songs and the reactions were immediate. I loved to work with different instruments, sounds, songs or choirs of other cultures which are not traditional for us. Anima Mundi will always be only an instrumental project with more dedication on different world cultures and it will be a more emotional view of the world around us. On the other side the sound of my new material will be more technological, harder and more electronic.
Chain D.L.K.: How did it come to the deal with Aliens Production? Is it important for you that they are countrymen and that they live near your home area, or wouldn’t you mind if they would be far away?
Gaping Chasm: I’ve been living in Prague for about 15 years – it’s about 350 km from my native Bratislava where the Aliens Production guys are based. Our main connection is via internet, we personally meet only on the concerts and similar actions. I know Ryby from the time I was working with Crewzine. Thanks to our friendship and Ryby´s interest, Aliens Production released my first CD.
Chain D.L.K.: The artwork of your CD features images of soldiers in a combat. Call that a cliche or not, but EBM/Electro bands often use related images as a kind of reflection of their kind and they often try to provoke. How is it with you, what meaning do these militaristic images have for you?
Gaping Chasm: It’s true that this theme is often used but which one is not …?
I will try to explain my militaristic “image”. At first I have to say that my music is AGAINST WAR. I had a very urgent need to present the feelings of the soldiers in war and what is interesting – these feelings were as strong as I had been a soldier in my last life.
Chain D.L.K.: I don’t know your past releases in your demo tape phase, but does “Fragments of War” include some tracks of your starting days?
Gaping Chasm: All material is new. The main reason is that the technology and process of making music has completely changed and my old demo tracks aren’t in a today’s trend. After all there is a track “Reflection” from the demo “Reflection” (1995) which was completely remade. Only the lyrics are taken from the original.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you create two different versions on your track “To Be Free”, which are both featured on your CD?
Gaping Chasm: I had some problems with my computer and during the preparation of my material I had lost all my data. Luckily, I gave the material for the CD to Ryby a few days before. However, I had to prepare something for the concert and it’s impossible to make one track completely identical twice and so the second version came into existence. Because the reactions were positive I decided to add it to CD as a remix. Regarding the remixes I have to say that I really like to make remixes for other musicians. On the other hand I see today’s trend to remix everything by anybody as a loose of identity and strength of the bands.
Chain D.L.K.: A lot of people (me included…) still have in mind the glorious days of the legendary Crewzine magazine out of your country, Slovakia. What are the reasons for the sudden stop of all your activities? Do you somehow regret the end of this magazine?
Gaping Chasm: Crewzine was really a very successful magazine and we managed to make it in a good quality. The work in Crewzine was our hobby, but after some time it was too much work for us. We were only two guys plus one graphic artist and the press costs were to high. We realized that we were not able to keep step with German magazines which were financially supported by big publishers. So we stopped Crewzine and we were doing a mail order for some time but finally we also stopped this activity too, because we didn’t have enough time to do it. We wanted to spend more time with our families.
Chain D.L.K.: What has changed in the Slovakian Electro/Industrial scene (if you compare the past days with the present happenings, acts and concerts)?
Gaping Chasm: There are more bands producing electronic music and it’s logical because now everybody has a possibility to produce it on a computer. In consequence of this, there are more music trends and the orientation is difficult. We used to have just a very few possibilities – Metal, Rock, Pop or electronic music, but today everything is mixed up. We have few and fewer fans in electronic music. We’ve noticed this at our concerts. I can say that we do this music only for us and for our friends because we like it. I feel sorry for that, but that’s life.
I have to mention one more thing: a lot of bands can release their CD’s and almost all these CD’s are sounding the same (this is bad). When I worked with Crewzine there were only a few bands but every single band had an individual style of music. I hope that my CD presents the diversity and individuality. I will try to keep focused on this in my music.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans from you to do some live performances of Gaping Chasm? Describe your performance for all those who aren’t able to watch your stage actions?
Gaping Chasm: Of course I want to present the material to the public after releasing a CD. I have to emphasize that I’ve created a visual presentation which is mostly composed of war documents and movies. It is not only abstract but a very alarming presentation of above mentioned situations and feelings of the soldiers and other people who were in that hell. I started to cooperate with Vojta from the band Anhedonia. He helps me out with adding different sounds to the music. I have already done some concerts in Czech Republic and also in Slovakia and I hope that other concerts will follow.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans for a new release you can already confirm here? What do you expect for the future of your projects?
Gaping Chasm: Currently, it is important for me to present “Fragments…” because I think it is good quality material. It can take a long time until people all over the word will accept it but I’m patient. The references and reactions on my CD are quite good so I’m really glad that it isn’t lost in the amount of new bands.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words you would like to fill in here?
Gaping Chasm: I would like to thank you for supporting my music and for the good questions which could get me and my music closer to the people.Thank you.
Visit Gaping Chasm on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Kevin J. Cazier]